About Us - Corazon de Vida
What Corazon de Vida DoesWe support the orphanages of Baja, Mexico by raising contributions in the form of money, material, and volunteer work to benefit and empower the children of Baja. Every month we organize multiple trips to Baja where we visit several orphanages.
Our vision is to see that the orphan children in Baja Mexico have someone committed to the possibility that their life hold the same excitement and opportunity as children in the U.S. do!
OperationsCorazon de Vida (CDV), or Heart of Life, was formed in 1994 to raise funds and support for the children of Baja, Mexico. Without funds for housing, food or social programs for orphaned, homeless and abandoned children, Mexico is not able to provide a future for its youngest citizens.
Many of these children are found living on the streets, while a lucky few have been taken in by well meaning families. These families offer help to one or two children in desperate need, and shortly find themselves running a home for as many as 75 or 100 children. The families often seek support from churches, area businesses or friends to feed and clothe the children, but there are no government funds.
CDV coordinates corporate, community and volunteer support to provide funds, volunteer help, and a caring hand to the children of Baja. Funds raised pay for food, utilities and the other basic needs of life. Many children in Baja orphanages do not get a regular nutritious meal. CDV hopes to change that for the 50 orphanages throughout Baja.
About Hilda PachecoOne Woman who made a difference The 37-year-old director of government funding for L5 grew up in Puerta de Fe (Door of Faith), an orphanage in La Mision, a small town between Tijuana and Ensenada. Placed there with three younger siblings when she was 7, she spent eight years at the home for children. Her memories of Door of Faith are positive. It gave her a bed of her own and good food every day. It gave her a chance to be a child instead of having to take responsibility for her two younger brothers and a sister while their single mother worked as a tortilla maker for low wages in Ensenada, leaving the house at 5 a.m. and returning at 6 p.m.
Hilda Pacheco-Taylor and owners of L5, Michael Beason and Mickey Wiebe, who live in Irvine, California, decided to do something to help the children's home and established the Corazon de Vida Foundation about eight years ago. In the past couple of years, they have expanded their program to match other companies with other children's homes in Baja California Norte.
Pacheco-Taylor had not returned to Door of Faith for many years until 1994. When she arrived she was disappointed to find the home had fallen into disrepair and could support only 30 children, not the 90 to 100 who had been there when Pacheco-Taylor was a child. The director told her the orphanage had lost its connection to U.S. support when the missionary couple who helped out retired.
Pacheco-Taylor recalled the incident that made her mother decide it was too dangerous to leave her young family during the times she worked. The family lived in a one-room house with dirt floors. The father had abandoned the family. One of the neighbors watched the younger kids when Pacheco-Taylor attended school, but after school she was in charge. She was 7. Her brothers were 5 and 4, and her sister, 3. One afternoon her 5-year-old brother fell into a reservoir near their home. "I was inside trying on a bathing suit. My other brother was screaming and pointing," she said. "He was drowning, and I couldn't do anything to save him." A neighbor arrived home from work and pulled her brother from the water. He was unconscious as they took him to the hospital. "I thought he had died," said Pacheco-Taylor.
Her brother survived. But the incident did serve as a wake-up call to their mother.
"It was a miracle that any of us survived. It was at that time she realized it was better to take us to the orphanage," Pacheco-Taylor said. Pacheco-Taylor said that she was happy at the orphanage. Her mother visited the children about once a month for a few years until she went to Santa Ana to try and make a better life for herself. "I remember that we each had a very nice bed. Before we slept in one bed," she said. "The food was really good. I continued to be really close to my brothers and sister and try to protect them. But I felt I could be a kid." The staff consisted of dorm parents with a ratio of about 10 kids to one adult. The adults were U.S. missionaries and Mexican nationals. Many of the children stayed long-term at the orphanage like Pacheco-Taylor and her siblings. They moved to new dorm parents as they grew older, but they usually knew the new person in charge. Even with the security of living at the orphanage, Pacheco maintained her dream of getting the family together again with their mother. When she was 15 she had finished the ninth grade and had to make a choice about what to do next - technical school, university preparation, work. She decided to join her mother in Santa Ana. She went north on a one-day visitor's pass and never returned.
She tried high school and took a full-time job to help support the family. By the time she was 20, she and her mother succeeded in getting all the other children to join them in Santa Ana. There were three additional younger half-siblings in another orphanage in Ensenada. (The family gained citizenship during the amnesty period in the 1980s). Pacheco-Taylor remained grateful to Door of Faith. But her mother, who died last year after returning to Mexico, could not forgive herself for leaving her children in a home. "She was always torn. She apologized to us her whole life," said Pacheco-Taylor. "I told her, 'Mom, that's the best thing you could ever have done for us.'"
Board Members of Corazon de VidaGeorge Perez CDV Board of Directors leads our monthly trips to El Faro the daddy, the heart of El Faro
Kelly Morrissey Executive Director CDV
Jim McAleer CDV Board of Directors, Alzheimers Association of Orange County